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Making the most of your skin skis is easy

Madshus Intelligrip skin skis makes classic skiing a breeze. Photo: Stefano Zatta/Madshus

A 3-step guide to perfect kick and glide.

Madshus Intelligrip skin skis makes classic skiing a breeze. Photo: Stefano Zatta/Madshus

Madshus Intelligrip skin skis makes classic skiing a breeze. Photo: Stefano Zatta/Madshus

Skin skis continue to top the sales charts, and it’s easy to see why:

  • Skin skis make it a breeze to get out for a weeknight workout.
  • Skin skis lower the entry barrier to Nordic skiing for recreational skiers who find kick waxing to be tricky and time-consuming.
  • Skin skis are great choice when the conditions change over the course of the day.
  • Skin skis solve the hairy waxing conundrum when the temperature fluctuates on either side of freezing.
  • Skin skis work equally well in cold and dry snow, in hard-packed and icy conditions, as in wet, slushy snow.
  • The skins are made to last several hundred kilometers, and are easily replaced if they get worn out or damaged.

All Madshus Intelligrip skin skis are ready to use right out of the box, as is. However, while skin skis are kick wax-less, they are not entirely maintenance free.

Roger Gråv, who is the head of the Nordic department at Sport1 in Lillehammer, Norway, offers a quick guide to getting the best performance the longest life out of your skin skis.

“There are really just three things to remember: prep, clean and glide,” Gråv says.

Prepping
The skins can be prepped with a skin-ski specific product to avoid icing up and globbing. Adding a prepping product to the skins can improve overall glide in certain conditions.

The skin prepping products resemble the liquid glider products that have been available for years, and the effect of these would be similar. However, skins require a special product with fewer harsh solvents in order avoid damaging the glue that keeps the skin attached to the base, Gråv explains.

He recommends using a skin-ski specific product.

“The skin-ski specific products are not that different from the regular liquid and spray on glide products, but the skin-ski specific products don’t have the same harsh solvents as the traditional varieties. The solvents can damage the glue, and even cause the skins to come off,” he says.

Skin ski prep is available both as liquids/spray-on bottles and also as pretreated wipes. Prep the skins when needed.

“You will notice when they need prepping. Typically, you will find that the skis don’t glide as well. Also, it’s a good idea to prep if the snow is really wet,” Gråv says.

Cleaning
Generally, skin skis don’t need any special treatment or cleaning. But if you have skied on trails with significant debris or dirty snow, it’s a good idea to clean your skins afterwards.

“You don’t need to clean your skins each time you ski, but if they look dirty or feel draggy, cleaning the skins will improve the glide. This is particularly relevant if you’ve skied on warm and wet or icy tracks where a lot of people would use klister, because your skins can pick up some of that dirt. Just check your skin and see if it’s needed,” says Gråv, noting that with black skins, it can be a bit tricky to spot the dirt.

“If you see areas of the skin that seem duller than the surrounding skin, or the texture appears flattened, that is often a sign that you should clean the skin,” he says.

Cleaning is a simple operation. Gråv recommends using skin ski-specific cleaners, for the same reason as with the prepping products: the skin-specific products don’t have any harsh solvents that can damage the skin or dissolve the glue.

“Traditional base cleaner contains pretty strong solvents, which can cause the skins to detach from the base,” Gråv explains.

Skin ski cleaners are available both as spray-on/liquids and in pretreated wipes.

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Madshus Intelligrip skin skis are ready to use as is, but in certain conditions, using skin ski specific prepping and cleaning products can improve both grip and glide. Photo: Stefano Zatta/Madshus

Madshus Intelligrip skin skis are ready to use as is, but in certain conditions, using skin ski specific prepping and cleaning products can improve both grip and glide. Photo: Stefano Zatta/Madshus

Gliding
Like all Nordic skis, skin ski bases should be glide waxed in front of and behind the kick zone (the middle part of the base with the integrated skin).

Glide waxing skin skis is easy, but make sure to cover the skin while applying the glide wax, scraping and brushing, in order to avoid spilling glide wax onto the skin, and protect the skin from scraped wax and wax dust from brushing.

“Covering the skin with a protective tape strip is a simple way to protect the skin while you work on the glide zones. Then just peel off the tape when you’re done and you’re good to go,” Gråv says, adding that most Nordic ski retailers carry such cover tape.

Get the right ski
With increasingly more skin ski models on the market in several different segments, skiers have a variety of skis to choose from: Touring, training and racing skin skis have different properties and qualities.

“It is just as important to get fitted for the right skin ski as with any other ski. Determine what kind of skiing you plan to do with your skin skis to ensure you get a pair that meets your needs and expectations,” Gråv says.

Roger Gråv explains how to get the most from your skin skis. Photo: Submitted

Roger Gråv explains how to get the most from your skin skis. Photo: Submitted

Summer Maintenance for Skis

Madshus marathon racer Øystein Pettersen (NOR) works on his skis during a test camp at Sjusjøen this spring. Photo: Stefano Zatta

Clean, wax and summer prep your skis and in a few simple steps.

Madshus marathon racer Øystein Pettersen (NOR) works on his skis during a test camp at Sjusjøen this spring. Photo: Stefano Zatta

Madshus marathon racer Øystein Pettersen (NOR) works on his skis during a test camp at Sjusjøen this spring. Photo: Stefano Zatta

You have probably put away your skis for the season, but did you prepare them for a summer in storage and a new winter?

Taking good care of your skis not only make them fast, it also makes them last longer.

Glide zones left dirty and dry will oxidize over the summer, leaving them feeling slow even with new wax in the fall.

Nobody likes to grab a pair of classic skis soiled with old klister and debris from the last spring fling when the first powder of the new season arrives in the fall. Additionally, that klister left on the skis has a nasty tendency to get very liquid in the summer heat, and will run all over the skis and everything else in the proximity of those skis, potentially leaving with you with a really sticky mess in a lot of unexpected places.

Spend a few minutes on your skis before you put them away for the summer, and your boards will be fast and furious when the snow flies again in the fall.

So, exactly what do you do?

Jan Erik Berger, who has been a wax tech with both the Norwegian national team and several of the long-distance teams, shares his tricks of the trade.

Start with cleaning off any remains of klister and kick wax. Scrape off the worst with a metal scraper dedicated to kick wax or a klister paddle (those plastic scrapers that come with the klister tubes). Then apply liberal amounts of wax cleaner, such as Swix Base Cleaner or Toko Gel Clean. Wipe clean and dry with Fiberlene or shop towels. Feel the surfaces with your hands to make sure all sticky residues are removed. Don’t forget to wipe down the bindings, tops and sides of the skis as well.

Once the skis are clean and dry, start applying glide wax to all glide zones. Don’t glide wax the kick zone on classic skis.

Use a medium-hard glide wax, such as Swix CH/LF7 or similar from other manufacturers. Berger prefers the medium hard waxes for convenience reasons.

“Using a medium-hard glide wax for summer storage saves the step of rewaxing with a colder glide wax when you are ready for the first ski in the fall: You just scrape off your summer wax and go ski,” Berger explains.

Previously, many wax techs recommended using a very soft glide wax, such as Swix CH/LF10 or similar, for storage, but the soft wax is generally too warm for skiing in the fall.

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After thoroughly cleaning the skis, glide wax the glide zones. Photo: Inge Scheve

After thoroughly cleaning the skis, glide wax the glide zones. Photo: Inge Scheve

Make summer work for your skis
However, if you don’t mind the extra waxing step in the fall, using a soft wax for storage has an added perk: The summer heat doubles as a natural hot box to saturate your bases.

“This is a cheap, simple and safe way to hot box your skis, without even building one and no risk of damaging your bases. Just store your skis bases-up in a garage, attic or storage shed where the summer heats up the space to 40-50 degrees C, and you have a natural hot box,” Berger says, noting that this treatment requires a warm glide wax for best result.

“If you plan to hot box your skis this way over the summer, you should choose a warmer, softer glide wax for storage than the CH/LF7,” Berger says.

That’s it. Your skis are clean, waxed and ready for the next season.

Is there anything else you need to do?

With skis cleaned, waxed and put away, take a look at the rest of your equipment too.

Poles
Look over your poles and repair or replace any baskets or broken parts. If you are using the same poles for roller skiing, now is a good time to switch from snow baskets to roller ski ferrules.

Waxes and tools
Klister tubes that have been opened have a tendency to leak, and can pose a problem any time of the year. But the summer heat makes the klister thinner and runnier, and increases the risk of leaving a sticky mess on everything in the wax box. Grab some Fiberlene or shop towels and some base cleaner, wipe down all the containers, and make sure the caps are tightly on. Push the content to the front of the tube, and roll up the bottoms. Store them vertically in their cardboard boxes with the caps pointing up to prevent them from running.

“If you have refrigerator or freezer in your garage or basement, this makes a great summer storage for klister. Other ski wax can be stored at room temperature,” Berger says.

Clean off your wax iron, tables and wax forums, brushes and scrapers. Putting your brushes in the freezer for a couple of hours makes it easier to get all the old wax shavings out of the bristles.

Finally, do a quick inventory of your wax kit: Make a list of which products your are out of or low on, so you are armed and ready when you make the first wax run in the fall. Better yet, stock up now on the end of winter clearance sales. Then you’re all set for the first snow.

Bonus
The work you put in now pays off with interest in the fall. Once it’s snowing, all you need to do is scrape, brush and go!

Look over your wax kit and make a list of what you need to replace before put away the box for the summer. Photo: Inge Scheve

Make a list of what you need to replace before putting away the wax kit for the summer. Photo: Inge Scheve

Care for new skis

New skis are ready to use straight from the box, but some extra care can make them even better. Photo: Simona Adelwart/Madshus
New skis are ready to use straight from the box, but some extra care can make them even better. Photo: Simona Adelwart/Madshus

Your new skis are ready to use straight from the box, but some extra care can make them even better. Photo: Simone Adelwart/Madshus

So you got new skis for Christmas: Now what?

While new skis are ready to be enjoyed right out of the box, a helping of TLC will make them race ready. Here is how to make sure you get the most out of your new equipment.

Start by cleaning the skis well as even brand-new skis can be dirty from transportation and from sitting at the retailer.

For skate skis

  • Wipe the bases with glide wax cleaner
  • Polish the bases with fibertex and brush with a soft metal brush
  • Heat in a couple of layers of fairly soft glide wax
  • Let cool and then reheat the glide wax again
  • Let cool again, then scrape with a sharp plastic scraper and brush well
  • Heat in a layer of somewhat harder glide wax. Heat in twice as described above, then scrape and brush thoroughly.

For classic skis

  • Use a base cleaner for the kick zone and a glide wax cleaner on the glide zones
  • Sand the kick zone with sand paper
  • Heat in a layer of base kick wax
  • Then go to where you plan to ski, and add the kick wax of the day outside, on site.

Summer Care for Skis

Take care of your skis now and you will be ready to rock and roll when the snow flies next fall! Photo: Inge Scheve
Take care of your skis now and you will be ready to rock and roll when the snow flies next fall! Photo: Inge Scheve

Take care of your skis now and you will be ready to rock and roll when the snow flies next fall! Photo: Inge Scheve

A few simple steps to do now, and your boards will be fast and furious are when the snow flies again.

It’s spring, the elite skiers are just about to officially enter the 2016-17 training year and it’s dryland season. You have probably put away your skis for the season, but did you prepare them for a summer in storage and a new winter?

Make sure your skis are every bit as fast and good as they were for the last days this spring. Additionally, taking good care of your skis not only make them fast, it also makes them last longer.

Glide zones left dirty and dry will oxidize over the summer, leaving them feeling slow even with new wax in the fall.

Nobody likes to grab a pair of classic skis soiled with old klister and debris from the last spring fling when the first powder of the new season arrives in the fall. Additionally, that klister left on the skis over the hot summer has a nasty tendency to get very liquid and run all over the skis and whatever lies in the proximity of those skis, potentially leaving with you with a real sticky mess in a lot of unexpected places.

So what to do?

Jan Erik Berger, who has been a wax tech with both the Norwegian national team and several of the long-distance teams, shares his tricks of the trade.

Start with cleaning off any remains of klister and kick wax. Scrape off the worst with a metal scraper dedicated to kick wax or a klister paddle (one of those plastic scrapers that come with the klister tubes). Then apply liberal amounts of wax cleaner, such as Swix Base Cleaner or Toko Gel Clean. Wipe clean and dry with Fiberlene or shop towels. Feel the surfaces with your hands after to make sure all sticky residues are removed. Don’t forget to wipe down the bindings, tops and sides of the skis as well.

Once the skis are clean and dry, start applying glide wax to all glide zones (don’t glide wax the kick zone on classic skis).

Use a medium-hard glide wax, such as Swix CH/LF7 or similar from other manufacturers. Previously, many wax techs recommended using a soft glide wax for storage, but the soft wax is generally too warm for skiing in the fall. Accordingly, using a medium-hard glide wax for summer storage saves the step of rewaxing with a colder glide wax when you are ready for the first ski in the fall: You just scrape off your summer wax and go!

But why not make summer work for your skis? Berger shares one of his favorite wax tips: use the summer heat as a hot box to saturate your bases.

“This is a cheap and simple way to hot box your skis without even building one. Just store your skis bases-up in a garage, attic or storage shed where the summer heats up the space to 40-50 degrees C, and you have a natural hot box,” Berger says, noting that this treatment requires a warm glide wax for best result.

“If you plan to hot box your skis this way over the summer, you should choose a warmer, softer glide wax for storage than the CH/LF7,” Berger says.

With skis waxed and put away, take stock of the rest of your gear too. Look over your poles and repair or replace any baskets or broken parts. If you are using the same poles for roller skiing, now is a good time to switch from snow baskets to roller ski ferrules.

And what about your wax and grooming tools? 

“Klister tubes that have been opened always pose a problem, and the summer heat just makes it worse. Grab some Fiberlene or shop towels and some base cleaner, wipe down all the containers, and make sure the caps are tightly on. Push the content to the front of the tube, and roll up the bottoms. Store them standing with the caps pointing up to prevent them from running. And if you have an old fridge in your garage or basement, this makes a great summer storage for klister. Other ski wax can be stored at room temperature,” Berger says.

Also, clean off your wax iron, tables and wax forums, brushes and scrapers. Putting your brushes in the freezer for a couple of hours makes it easier to get all the old wax shavings out of the bristles.

And finally, do a quick inventory of the wax box. Write a list of which products your are out of or low on, so you are armed and ready when you make the first wax run in the fall.

As a last bonus: The work you put in now, pays off in spades in the fall: once it’s snowing, all you need to do is scrape, brush and go!

Jan Erik Berger shares his advice for getting the best from your skis. Photo: Submitted

Jan Erik Berger shares his advice for getting the best from your skis. Photo: Submitted

Summer Care for Skis

Take care of your skis now and you will be ready to rock and roll when the snow flies next fall! Photo: Inge Scheve
It is no fun to clean off old spring skiing when the snow flies in the fall! Photo: Inge Scheve

It is no fun to clean off old spring skiing when the snow flies in the fall! Photo: Inge Scheve

It’s May, we have officially entered the 2015-16 training year and it’s dryland season. You have probably put away your skis for the season, but did you prepare them for a summer in storage and a new winter come fall?

Make sure your skis are every bit as fast and good as they were for the last days this spring. Additionally, taking good care of your skis not only make them fast, it also makes them last longer.

Glide zones left dirty and dry will oxidize over the summer, leaving them feeling slow even with new wax in the fall.

And nobody likes to grab a pair of classic skis soiled with old klister and debris from the last spring fling when the smell the first powder of the new season. Additionally, that klister left on over the hot summer has a nasty tendency to get very liquid and run all over the skis and whatever lies in the proximity of those skis, potentially leaving with you with a real sticky mess in a lot of unexpected places.

So what to do?

Jan Erik Berger, who has been a wax tech with both the Norwegian national team and several of the long-distance teams, shares his tricks of the trade.

Start with cleaning off any remains of klister and kick wax. Scrape off the worst with a metal scraper dedicated to kick wax or a klister paddle (one of those plastic scrapers that come with the klister tubes). Then apply liberal amounts of wax cleaner, such as Swix Base Cleaner or Toko Gel Clean. Wipe clean and dry with Fiberlene or shop towels. Feel the surfaces with your hands after to make sure all sticky residues are removed. Don’t forget to wipe down the bindings, tops and sides of the skis as well.

Once the skis are clean and dry, start applying glide wax to all glide zones (don’t glide wax the kick zone on classic skis).

Use a medium-hard glide wax, such as Swix CH/LF7 or similar from other manufacturers. Previously, many wax techs recommended using a soft glide wax for storage, but the soft wax is generally too warm for skiing in the fall. Accordingly, using a medium-hard glide wax for summer storage saves the step of rewaxing with a colder glide wax when you are ready for the first ski in the fall: You just scrape off your summer wax and go!

But why not make summer work for your skis? Berger shares one of his favorite wax tips: use the summer heat as a hot box to saturate your bases.

“This is a cheap and simple way to hot box your skis without even building one. Just store your skis bases-up in a garage, attic or storage shed where the summer heats up the space to 40-50 degrees C, and you have a natural hot box,” Berger says, noting that this treatment requires a warm glide wax for best result.

“If you plan to hot box your skis this way over the summer, you should choose a warmer, softer glide wax for storage than the CH/LF7,” Berger says.

With skis waxed and put away, take stock of the rest of your gear too. Look over your poles and repair or replace any baskets or broken parts. If you are using the same poles for roller skiing, now is a good time to switch from snow baskets to roller ski ferrules.

And what about your wax and grooming tools?

“Klister tubes that have been opened always pose a problem, and the summer heat just makes it worse. Grab some Fiberlene or shop towels and some base cleaner, wipe down all the containers, and make sure the caps are tightly on. Push the content to the front of the tube, and roll up the bottoms. Store them standing with the caps pointing up to prevent them from running. And if you have an old fridge in your garage or basement, this makes a great summer storage for klister. Other ski wax can be stored at room temperature,” Berger says.

Also, clean off your wax iron, tables and wax forums, brushes and scrapers. Putting your brushes in the freezer for a couple of hours makes it easier to get all the old wax shavings out of the bristles.

And finally, do a quick inventory of the wax box. Write a list of which products your are out of or low on, so you are armed and ready when you make the first wax run in the fall.

As a last bonus: The work you put in now, pays off in spades in the fall: once it’s snowing, all you need to do is scrape, brush and go!

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